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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Joel Klein is Ridiculed at City Council For Funding Cuts To Kids

and what is new about this is that Jennifer Medina at the New York Times is reporting it. A change in the Times?

May 28, 2008
Chancellor Talks of Cuts for Schools, Amid Hissing

If Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein were looking for allies in his latest battle with state officials over education funding, he would have found few in the City Council chamber on Tuesday.

During a nearly four-hour hearing filled with skepticism that bordered on hostility from council members, Mr. Klein testified that the city badly needed more flexibility from the state to avoid significant cuts at dozens of public schools.

But several council members said they found the argument difficult to believe. They also said that rather than appealing to the state, the Bloomberg administration should restore millions to the education budget so that no individual school would face cuts.

“There is no doubt and no way around the fact that this city, state and country are in difficult economic times, but even with that reality those level of cuts are not ones that I can, in good faith, support,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn, (picture below) who added that the Council would work to find “other cuts in other places” to reduce those faced by schools.

Several council members criticized Mr. Klein for not doing more publicly to fight the mayor’s education budget, which allocated $428 million less than what had been planned for education. Still, Mr. Klein insisted that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was acting responsibly as the “fiscal steward” of the city.

“The city can’t give us what it doesn’t have,” Mr. Klein said. “We’re in this as a city; we should address this as a city.”

Last week, Mr. Klein announced that some schools would face cuts of as much as 5 percent next year, unless Albany loosened restrictions on roughly $63 million in new state aid. Under the restrictions, the money must be spent largely on low-performance and high-poverty schools.

Mr. Klein said that many of the schools facing the harshest cuts were some of the most coveted and top-performing in the city, and that if the state allowed him flexibility, he would cut all school budgets by 1.4 percent. That has prompted outcries from several lawmakers and advocates, who say the administration is trying to pit parents against each other.

“Those charges are baseless,” Mr. Klein said. “We are here to protect all our children. My job as chancellor is to make sure that all children receive it equally.”

Mr. Klein said Tuesday that if the regulations were scaled back, the Education Department would be roughly $99 million short of keeping all schools from facing cuts. If the state did not amend its restrictions, he said, it would take roughly $400 million to prevent any school cuts. Several council members said that they were confused by the chancellor’s math, and that it was not clear how much money was needed to protect all schools.

“I hate to say this, but I don’t believe you,” said G. Oliver Koppell, a councilman from the Bronx, prompting a few cheers from the audience.

At the start of the hearing, onlookers packed into the chamber, and Ms. Quinn pleaded with them to stop hissing at Mr. Klein and his supporters. Several were escorted out after shouting, “Chancellor Klein, don’t cut a dime!”

We all remember that Joel Klein spent $80 million of the taxpayer money on the ARIS system which, according to sources, is not yet in good working order and has not been the entire school year:

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein selects IBM to develop Achievement Reporting System for educators and parents

Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) will help schools analyze and report student performance; parents able to access continually updated information
Issue date: 05 Mar 2007
Location: New York, NY

New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced the selection of IBM (NYSE: IBM) to develop the Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS), a first-of-its-kind data management system that will provide detailed information about student performance and progress to educators and parents and make innovations at one school available to all other schools with similar populations.

The Department of Education (DOE) chose IBM from a field of national leaders in data systems to create ARIS, which will help schools analyze, report and manage information about student and school performance. IBM will provide software, hardware, consulting, and technology services for the system, which will give educators and parents access to achievement data from state standardized exams as well as from periodic assessments administered at the school level. The information will help teachers identify effective practices citywide and improve and individualize instruction in response to demonstrated student need during the course of the school year.

"ARIS will give the teachers, the principals, and the parents of New York City the critical tools they need to really understand what students know — and don't know," said Chancellor Klein. "Armed with this information, our educators will be able to tailor instruction to their students' needs and parents will be able to get involved in their children's education like never before."

The DOE has engaged IBM in a five-year contract valued at approximately $80 million. Under the terms of the contract, IBM will develop ARIS and provide ongoing maintenance and support. A team from the law firm Reed Smith, led by Anthony S. Traymore of the firm's Advertising Technology and Media Law practice, worked with the DOE at no cost to the city to develop the contract. Additionally, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation committed $2.4 million to strategic planning and the development of the ARIS request for proposal and evaluation process.

"IBM is excited to have this opportunity to support the city's educators and to develop the tools needed to help all of New York City's public school children meet the learning challenges of the global economy," said Marianne Cooper, Public Sector Vice President at IBM responsible for education initiatives. "This innovative approach to education will be a leading example of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and information access that will serve as a model for other school systems."

ARIS is projected to become available to principals and teachers in September 2007. Pending project completion, parents will receive ARIS-generated reports on their students' performance and progress beginning in fall 2007, and will have online access to the system by September 2008.[NOT -Ed.]

Can An $80 Million IBM Deal Save New York City's Schools?

IBM Open Education site
IBM Research and Technology
NYC Contracts

Joel and his wife have no financial worries...why not make a donation to NYC public schools?

The New Math? Schools Chief Klein and the Missus Add Up 12 Rooms on Park Avenue
by Max Abelson

Aug. 14th, 2007, 7:14 pm

New York is a city of poshly-housed public servants.

The mayor owns two mansions in the East 70’s; the governor goes rent-free in a terraced Fifth Avenue apartment (it’s owned by his dad); development chief Robert Lieber has a new $7.25 million condo at Trump International; and even Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is in the Beresford.

Now Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has bonus space on Park Avenue. He and his wife Nicole Seligman, a Sony executive vice president (and an ex-lawyer for both Oliver North and Bill Clinton) have paid $1.7 million for their second apartment at 95-year-old 565 Park Avenue.

“When you walk in the lobby,” a longtime resident once told The New York Times, “it smells like old money.” The bouquet won’t be new to Mr. Klein: City records show he bought a seven-room apartment in 2002 one floor up from his new one; that old apartment had been listed for $3.5 million.

If he combines the two co-ops into a duplex, the man who oversees 1.1 million schoolchildren will have himself a nice sprawl. According to listings, the apartments add up to 12 rooms: two fireplaces; two dining rooms, one “formal” and the other “intimate,” with its own archway; a wood-paneled library and a study; one stone kitchen; and one stainless steel kitchen.

The couple’s new master bedroom has unobstructed views over the 104-year-old Colony Club across the street on Park Avenue, a building the AIA Guide to New York City calls a “prissy neo-Georgian town palace.” (Don’t tease Mr. Klein’s wife about the prissy neighborhood: Lt. Col. North once said, “Nobody messes with Nicole Seligman.”)

Her husband grew up in the outer boroughs, but when he took office in 2002, Mr. Klein turned down the keys to a $2.4 million Brooklyn Heights brownstone the city had bought for schools chancellors. Maybe it lacked that moneyed odor?

A spokesperson said Mr. Klein “gracefully declined” to comment, and his wife didn’t return calls to her office.


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